NEWLY promoted Matlock 2nd XI finally commenced the season, after eight long months of waiting, at home to promotion favourites Ambergate.
Matlock had looked to strengthen during the winter break and opted for two experienced players with the signings of Steve Else and Andy Ogden from Clay Cross, while also welcoming back Matt Haywood to the club.
After captain Mark Burton’s compulsory losing of the toss, Matlock were forced to bat first.
Both Burton and Drew Mullaney scratched around for a quick 30 but both lacked patience and gave their wickets away cheaply.
This brought to the crease Matt Haywood and Luke Pressland to steady the ship. Following a few early nerves Haywood began to stroke the ball around neatly while Pressland punished any bad bowling, finishing on a good 65 to start the season.
Yet it was Haywood who would be the man to push on, showing off his ability by hitting the ball to all parts of the ground and going on to smash his way to an impressive 108 on his return.
A special guest appearance from Tom Coey was another highlight to the Matlock innings, finishing on an entertaining 26 not out and closing the Matlock innings on 268-7.
Matlock took to the field sensing a good opportunity for a few early wickets and that’s exactly what they got. In a frantic opening 15 overs, both Andy Ogden and Dave Lander bowled with great line and length forcing the opening batsman to make mistakes.
Paul Chadbourne had dusted off his wicketkeeping gloves and took a stunning mid-air catch after the batsman had edged off the bowling of Ogden. Ogden bowled majestically and at times was unplayable, finishing on figures of 4-27 off 14 overs. He was well supported by Dave Lander, who finished with three wickets, as well as Drew Mullaney who was unrewarded with his disciplined nine-over spell. The Ambergate innings closed on 152–7.
No doubt Ogden, Else and Haywood will all prove to be shrewd signings. With the development of such younger players as Dave Lander, Tom Watkinson and Drew Mullaney over the winter, there’s no doubt Matlock are in an healthy position and there’s a great sense of optimism for the coming season after a comprehensive result over their local rivals.